My name is Yuna, and I am a summoner—a powerful one in fact. Up until two years ago, I'd considered my summoning abilities to be average—well, maybe a little above average, since I'd been able to perform sending's without the dance for a while—but after being shipwrecked on that mysterious island, I'd learned the true scope of my powers. Yu Yevon had possessed the ability to summon the memories of the dead. I'd been led to believe he'd been the most powerful of his kind—apparently I was wrong. I had no idea summoners were capable of conjuring objects, or a life into existence through sheer will. Stumbling onto that discovery was quite profound and exciting, but the price for such power…well, it was steep.
Whatever decisions I'd made in life, I'd done without any regrets. Sailing off on that boat, however, had truly been my first real regret. If I had just stayed in Besaid with Tidus, instead of running away from what I had foolishly adopted as my duties, none of this would've happened. And I could've led the blissful life I had been yearning for all these years.
Now, I'm sitting on an uncomfortable cot, in a stuffy, dingy cabin of yet another boat, venturing onto a dangerous mission I've only helped to create. I may not have beckoned Sin from the Farplane, but I'd made the conditions possible from what I'd done on that island. I'd been warned. Conjuring anything into existence had a price—a consequence in the world, yet I completely ignored it. I had pushed the limits and stressed the hearts of the aeons, which is why I returned to being a full-time summoner. I'd thought maybe I could control things this way…but, I was wrong once again.
When people look at me, they see this demure, young summoner, who would risk her life for Spira. Now, I'm anything but that selfless woman they've come to revere. I've harbored a damning secret for some time. On that island—the day I watched my lover dissolve into a plethora of swirling pyreflies—a part of me died too. Spira's sweet, caring summoner died that day, and this desperate, selfish woman was birthed in her place. Discovering I could beckon my lover back from death by controlling pyreflies at will, along with my unequivocal love for him…that was a defining moment for me. I didn't even hesitate. I wanted him back, no matter what the cost. It was as though my love for him had turned into an obsession—and I'm certain in some regards it already had by then. Now, Spira may pay a heavy price from my actions. And what's worse, I'm more concerned about protecting my lover, rather than aiding the world I'd helped plunge into chaos.
I vowed to all of Spira, I'd defeat Sin once more. I wasn't sure how as of yet, but dying was definitely not in my plans. After my speech in Luca, my former guardians had surprised me at the docks and insisted on reprising their roles, before whisking me away on this boat bound for Kilika where apparently Nooj would meet us with some vital information. Quite honestly, I couldn't be more irate. They had no idea what was really happening. And the last thing I needed was that girl, Chuami—who had so brazenly inserted herself into our group—lurking about. I'd planned on figuring things out my own, but now, with all of my guardians around; it was going to be much more challenging. If anyone discovered what I'd done to destabilize the Farplane…well, it would be game over.
A soft knock came at the door, startling me out of my gloomy reverie. I was certain I knew who it was on the other side, and I found myself hesitant to move from the cot to let him in. So instead, I sat in silence, twisting the cotton sheets in my fists, hoping he would leave as a familiar ache burned inside me; the one I'd first experienced when I reluctantly pushed him away in Bevelle.
"Yuna, please…I wanna talk to you."
He sounded so desperate. My breaths stalled as the aching inside my heart intensified. I wanted nothing more than to let him in and crash my lips against his in a passionate kiss; to apologize for lying and to reassure him no one could ever worm their way into my heart, that it belonged to him, but I couldn't take the chance. If he remembers what I had done…he'd disappear forever this time. And he was already exhibiting signs. "It's over, Tidus! Let it go…please."
"I don't believe you! I spoke with Lulu. I know why you're doing this, now. I'm not leaving your side! I promised to stand by you always. And I intend to keep my word."
Of course…Lulu, I should've known. She probably suspected my break-up with Tidus had been the result of Sin's return, and believed I was trying to distance myself from him in case I had to do what a summoner must in times like these. If she actually knew the truth…well, I'd probably lose her forever as well. My gut was twisting in knots. At this point, I didn't know what to say or do. My lover was unrelenting—and a persistent Tidus was the worst kind to deal with.
"I love you. And I know you still love me. Please…we can figure this out together. Don't push me away."
My resolve had begun to waver at this point. The desire to be enveloped by the warmth of his strong arms and to reveal this other secret I've been keeping from him was breaking down my barriers. He was going to be a father. The life I was carrying inside my womb, I wasn't sure if it was a biological miracle, or if I had somehow conjured it into existence as well. All I knew was how far along I was in my pregnancy—two months and three days to be exact. I had found out a week ago, and I wasn't sure even then how to break the news. Now, with the beckoning happening, it was even more complicated than before.
With a heavy sigh—and against my better judgement—I managed to pry myself off the cot and inch my way toward the door. My pulse was pounding so fiercely, I could feel it in my ears. What was I thinking? I couldn't do this. The risk was too great.
Resting my forehead against the cold, wooden door, I shut my eyes and wished Tidus would somehow forget why he came to my cabin in the first place. For some reason, I focused intently on that thought, going as far as envisioning a bubble forming around those memories, and floating them out of his mind. I let out a breath of a laugh, thinking how silly I was being.
After several moments of silence, I was certain my lover had given up and left. My heart sank. It was better this way...for now. I had to figure things out. Unfortunately, I had no idea where to begin.
A low gurgle came from my stomach. Apparently, I had to begin with eating something. I hadn't eaten anything all day, and I'm sure the child slowly forming in my womb would object, if it could, at the lack of nourishment. Confident in my ability to dodge my lover while I purchased some food from the merchant on board, I quickly unlocked the deadbolt, and swung open the door.
Much to my surprise—and chagrin—I was met with my lover's stunned expression as he rather nervously scratched the back of his head. Panicked, I quickly made a move to shut the door, but Tidus blocked my efforts by wedging himself in between it and the frame.
"I thought you'd left," I hissed. "I told you it's over! Do you intend to camp outside my door all night?"
"I dunno what you're talking about, but it doesn't matter. We need to have a conversation, regardless."
Doesn't know what I'm talking about? Yeah, right. Was he trying to insult my intelligence? My cheeks burned, furious at whatever scheme he was trying to pull in an effort to corner me. "Whatever you're plotting, it's not going to work! I really don't need this right now. And I certainly don't need you guarding this cabin and making me feel like a prisoner here."
I must've struck a nerve with how the confused look on his face quickly turned into a glower. "Look, I honestly don't know why I was standing outside this door. I just know I had something important to do, but I couldn't recall what." His face softened into a sullen expression as his bottom lip slightly quivered. "Dammit Yuna…I love you. That's why I'm here. I promised to be with you, always."
The sincerity in his voice, coupled with the tears brimming in his eyes made my gut twist with guilt. I absolutely loathed hurting the man I love. If only there was a way for us to be together through this. I just didn't know how to make it possible. Then, his words finally struck me. He really seemed to have no clue as to why he was outside my door. "You don't remember the conversation you had with Lulu?"
"We spoke in Besaid, but I can't recall all the details…" He paused then frowned, averting his eyes in the way he normally would when he was deep in thought, before returning his loving gaze upon me. "I just remember Sin returning and how I wanted to be by your side, no matter what. I made a promise to you, years ago—one I don't intent to break."
My stomach fluttered. Tidus had always been a horrible liar. The earnest look in his eyes had convinced me of his honesty. He really had forgotten why he sought me out earlier. At first, I'd attributed his memory lapse to the illness he'd been experiencing from the beckoning, but that hadn't made any sense, since remembering suppressed memories had been the catalyst to the illness in the first place—according to what I'd learned from Joit on that island. No, his condition signified what I'd considered to be nothing short of miraculous—that I'd succeeded in wiping part of his memory.
I wasn't sure how to feel at that moment. Had this been a few years ago, I would've been more wary, than anything, at discovering such powers, but at this stage of my life—and with all I'd been through—I was almost too eager, giddy even, to embrace this kind of power. A smile tugged on my lips. I'd somehow just gained the ability to suppress, or even completely destroy sections of one's memory with the will of my mind.
The fear of losing the man I loved eased, knowing now that I could purge those memories from him if they ever began to surface—the same way Joit had done to his lover, Briar, for thousands of years. Of course, I wouldn't be as careless as Joit had been. A child was an unbreakable bond between two people. There was no way my lover would ever leave me. Our love was stronger than what those two ancient summoners shared. I was sure of it. No love triangle here—not now, and not ever.
Tidus must've sensed my shift in mood from how his lips dared to curve into a slight grin. "You gonna tell me what's suddenly got you so excited?"
Well, I couldn't exactly tell him the truth, so some semblance of it would have to suffice. "I guess I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about things." Without giving him a chance to respond, I looped my arms around his neck and smothered his lips in a fiery kiss.
Obviously, my lover had been surprised by my response from how he stumbled back into the hallway, but had managed to regain his balance rather quickly by gripping my waist. It wasn't long before he relaxed in my arms and reciprocated my gesture by hungrily massaging his lips against mine, which in turn, ignited a flaming passion inside me, once thought lost through the haze of fear and uncertainty.
The heat traveling throughout my body turned into a fiery rush. At first, I attributed this sensation to what I usually had felt when kissing the man I love, but something about it was different this time—very different. Suddenly, it felt like my veins were being filled with hot liquid magma, burning and coursing through my entire system, but in a soothing, yet exhilarating way. My whole body tingled. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before. This feeling was liberating and highly erotic as well, but far more intense than any of the times I'd reached my pinnacle while making love to Tidus—and I'd thought that was impossible. I felt more alive than I ever had in my entire life.
Just when I thought I would erupt from all the unfamiliar and overwhelming sensations, he broke the kiss, and gazed into my eyes with concern. "Are you, alright?"
Gasping for air, I shut my eyes and tried to steady my breathing. I didn't know how to respond. Every inch of my body was still pulsing with what I could only describe as…power—absolute, divine power on a scale even I couldn't comprehend. Of course, I couldn't let him, or anyone know that. I dared to look him in the eye and prepared to reply in a way he wouldn't question. "Yeah, I'm fine—just a bit winded. That was some kiss, huh?"
My attempt to feign innocence seemed to work from how his lips curved into that famous grin of his. "Does this mean you're still my girl?"
I was always his girl. Subconsciously he should've known that. "My heart belongs to only you. It always has."
Suddenly, his expression turned deadly serious. He eased out of my embrace and balled his hands into fists at his sides—something he did when he was either angry, nervous, or both. "What about this other guy of yours?"
Sometimes I wondered if my lover was really as obtuse as he posed. Then again, I really had tried to sound convincing in Bevelle. I reached for his hand and gave it a gentle, reassuring squeeze, all the while looking into his blue eyes, hoping he'd see the sincerity in mine as I spoke. "After all the time I'd spent searching for you, did you really believe I could fall in love with someone else, so easily?"
"I dunno. You've been acting strange, lately. And you've never lied to me before. I didn't think it was in your nature to do so."
Boy he was way off the mark on that one. And I'd have to continue with this façade and the lies if I wanted to preserve his existence. This was now my new way of life. Somehow, I would have to embrace it and bury any guilt that may arise. Well, no time like the present. "I was afraid with Sin being back, I'd have to…you know."
He soothingly stroked the back of my hand with his thumb and let out a long breath, suggesting he was relieved by my response. "That won't happen. This is different than before. Someone is willing Sin into existence. We'll find them—and we'll destroy them like we did with Yu Yevon."
Those words made my blood run cold. I had to remind myself that I wasn't the one beckoning Sin. Whoever was doing this certainly wanted my attention. And I was convinced it was someone I'd met on that dreadful island. "You're right," I indicated, offering the warmest smile I could muster. "We'll get through this—and we'll do so, together."
"Then you're done pushing me away?" he asked in a rather suggestive tone, his lips curving into a smirk.
I couldn't help but giggle then give him a nod. His playfulness really was a huge part of his charm. "You don't have to worry about that. I plan on keeping you close by at all times, from now on." And I meant every word—quite literally in fact, for obvious reasons.
"I won't object to that."
Just then, my stomach made an embarrassing gurgling sound, far louder than the one from earlier. I felt my cheeks flush a bit from the amused look on his face.
"Someone's hungry," he chuckled.
"Actually, I'm starving. Think you can scrounge up something for us to eat?"
"Sure thing." He gave me a wink then released my hand before shooting me a stern look. "But when I come back, I think we should continue our conversation. I know there's more to this." As soon as those words left his lips, he sprinted down the corridor over to where the merchant had setup shop.
No doubt he would be full of questions when he returned. No one knew Tidus like I did. He wouldn't be satisfied with the vague explanation I'd given of my sudden change of heart. I would have to concoct something tangible for him to believe. And I intended to do my best to appease his inquisitive nature—along with wiping whatever memories were threatening to surface from our time on that island. Of course, revealing my pregnancy would have to wait a bit longer. There was no chance he'd allow me to journey in this condition, but I had to find a way to end the beckoning. And I had my suspicions on who may be behind it—Joit, the ancient summoner from that mysterious island; the island he conjured into existence.
When I returned inside the cabin, I paused to study my reflection in the cheap, rusty mirror hanging on the wall. Yes, I still looked the same as I did a couple years ago—aside from my hair being much longer and my skin having a bit of a glow from my current condition—but that was only on the surface. There was something lurking in the depths of those mismatched eyes which hadn't been there before…something dark. I was no longer that innocent, young summoner from three years ago. No, she was long gone. I was now a woman, desperate to protect her unborn child and its father. And I was prepared to do anything to ensure their safely.
Finally, I had control—over the situation, my life, and quite possibly the future—something, I began to revel in.
It was at that moment when I realized the bomb which had killed my lover hadn't been some freak accident; it had been carefully planned by someone who had wanted to arouse these powers inside me—someone like, Joit. Rage began to erupt in the depths of my soul. No one was going to threaten my happiness. The life I had always wanted was at my fingertips, all I had to do was reach out and grab it. I had sacrificed so much and worked too hard to lose all I held dear.
Then, I felt it—not rage, but malice, twisting its way through me and consuming every facet of my being. I smiled, almost wickedly at myself in the mirror while I began to devise a plan. If Joit's goal had been to awaken a powerful, god-like summoner…then he just got his wish. And I couldn't wait to make him regret it.